Walsh: City, tenants bracing for end of eviction moratorium

The state’s eviction moratorium expires in 10 days, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday that his city is facing a “potential crisis” of housing instability.

“As a city, we must use the power of what we have to provide whatever we can do to help,” Walsh said.

The mayor filed an ordinance with the City Council on Monday that would require landlords serving tenants a notice to quit to also provide information on tenants’ rights and available resources, and said mailers were going out in nine languages to 46,000 households where residents may be at risk of eviction.

“It tells them clearly that they don’t have to leave their homes if they receive a notice to quit,” Walsh said.

Gov. Charlie Baker has signaled his intention to let the state’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium expire on Oct. 17, but he and legislative leaders have said they’re working with the courts to develop a strategy to keep people in their homes.

Walsh invited landlords throughout Boston to sign the city’s Housing Stability pledge, and said 25 property owners who rent to low-income tenants have already signed. The pledge asks landlords to honor the federal eviction moratorium, create payment plans for tenants and help connect tenants with resources such as housing vouchers.

City Hall said it would also begin accepting new applications to the Rental Relief Fund after the moratorium lifts for up to $4,000 in rental assistance for eligible tenants, and intends to contract with Greater Boston Legal Services to add attorneys to assist tenants facing eviction.

Walsh said he’ll have more to say about housing at his next press conference. In the meantime, the Chelsea Collaborative was organizing a march and rally for Wednesday night featuring life-sized coffins to call for passage of legislation to put in place a long-term eviction moratorium and for funding for rental assistance and tenant legal representation.

(Copyright (c) 2020 State House News Service.